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Communion Meditations (2014)

On Trial

Originally scheduled for October 12

In Acts chapter 26 we read of Paul’s trial before the Roman ruler and a Jewish ruler named Agrippa. Technically speaking, the charges had to do with riot and insurrection. But this is a political trial, and Paul knows it — so he goes immediately to the main issue. That issue is none other than the resurrection of the dead. It is a very sensitive issue, because it involves the fact that the religious leaders of Jerusalem were the driving force behind the crucifixion of an innocent man. Paul of course has the disadvantage that these rulers will probably not believe the resurrection at first hearing. His problem is much like the fellow trying to prove that he was Santa Claus: if you are really Santa Claus, you’re sane. If not, you’re a nutcase.

Note please that Paul is trying here to prove not only the resurrection of Christ but also the general resurrection of the dead. He brings three very strong arguments to bear:

·         First, in a general way he cites the writings of the prophets. This is going to do much for the Roman ruler, but King Agrippa is quite familiar with them. Whether or not he believes in the resurrection, those writings make it clear that a devout Jew of the time would be expected to believe in the resurrection.

·         To this he adds his own experience on the Damascus Road. He is an eyewitness to the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, and so testifies.

·         He closes his argument with a reference to the power of Almighty God. It is not man who is raising man from the dead, it is God. If you want to know if that’s reasonable then you must inquire into the power and will of Almighty God.

It is interesting that we are told to celebrate communion “until He comes.” That implies two things. First, that he is returning. Second, since he in effect “called the shot,” along with him will come the resurrection of the dead. Communion, therefore, is a sign of this promise. When you take communion you are proclaiming the resurrection of the dead to come as well as the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is the proof that it can happen; his word is the proof that it will.

So when you take communion today you must look back — look back to the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. You must also look forward — look forward to his return again and the general resurrection of the dead. For those who love him and follow his word it will be the greatest of all days. Think on these things; they are your heritage.

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